Tag Archives: survival

Defensive Firearms Training is Imperative

Training and developing defensive skills, physically, mentally and technically are skills you must keep sharp. If you are not training at all or you are not trying to challenge yourself, you will start to lose your edge. You will also not be prepared for a critical incident. I recently heard a well known instructor state, “If you own more than five firearms and you have not taken a serious personal defense training course, you are not serious about personal defense. You are Just a firearm enthusiast”.

There is a segment of people out there, who think because they have taken a state concealed carry course, they are good to go. This is far from the truth and in most cases very dangerous thinking. State curriculum for carry classes and concealed carry permits do not even meet basic defensive skill requirements. They fall extremely short of actually giving you any important defensive skills. In most cases they give you no defensive skills, other than the ability to have a firearm with you.

Training with Glock 17
Training with Glock 17

Once you have made the decision to carry a firearm for personal defense, you are taking on a mountain of personal responsibility. Becoming proficient in manipulating, drawing, firing and assessing a defensive high stress incident is a lifelong commitment to constantly learn and refine your skill set. Mental preparation is just as important as the physical preparation.

I was recently in a firearm class where I was challenged mentally and physically on a level I had not experienced for a long time. I was able to sharpen my skills and I am that much better than I was yesterday. In fact, after watching several videos of myself in the class, I could see I had a significant delay from the threat presenting itself to my actual reaction. You can only get faster at your reaction to stimulus by reacting to stimulus. Also, there is no substitute for live fire training. Ammo down range is what is going to sharpen your skills.

As a responsible citizen who carries a firearm, you are wide open to criminal prosecution and civil liability. For example: (1) Hit an innocent person because your accuracy is lacking. (2) Use deadly force when the force was not justified because you did not mentally prepare. (3) Failed to get in the fight, because you were not proficient at the draw and the bad guy killed you. (4) Failed to respond because you froze and did not study the physiological and psychological effects you may encounter in a deadly force encounter. These are only a few examples but you get my point.

It is important to remember, when carrying a personal defense/concealed carry firearm to train with it and the appropriate support gear you carry. You might be the best shot with your 22lr rifle, or other precision rifle, on a bipod with scope, but this will not translate at all to your defensive handgun. The ability to shoot tight groups at 50 and 100 yards with your rifle has no bearing on drawing your personal defense handgun in a critical incident. Training to draw your concealed carry firearm, from your carry holster, in the manner you conceal carry, is key.

Draw from Conceal Carry
Draw from Conceal Carry


You must take continual training seriously and always strive to learn more and challenge yourself to improve. Anyone who tells you they have a carry permit, so they don’t need any more training, is someone who is defiantly ill prepared for a defensive encounter. I have been through more training and firearm schools then I can count. There is one thing I have learned over the years, firearms training and personal defense is a highly fluid and constantly evolving field. You must constantly train, evolve and educate yourself in the personal defense field. If you do not, your just dead weight with a firearm on your hip, helping no one.


Natural Disaster Supplies

Cassie Larsen submitted this article.

In the case of a natural disaster situation. You want to be prepared to take care of yourself, your family and maybe your close neighbors. In the days leading to a known weather emergency you don’t want to be battling people trying to get the last bottle of water off the shelf or going to three different stores to buy a flashlight. After the disaster you don’t want to be dependent on the government for all of your needs. You need to be prepared ahead of time to be able to take care of the situation.

I’m going to discuss some of the basic things you need to get yourself started on being self reliant.

1. Food- You can live for weeks without food. You won’t be happy or thinking clearly but you’ll be alive. So I recommend having a 3 month food supply always on hand. (http://looserounds.com/2012/10/06/the-importance-of-a-3-month-food-supply-and-getting-started/) If you can’t have a 3 month food supply or don’t want one have a 72 hour supply of food. 72 hour supplies of food can be simple MRE’s and power bars. It’s nice to have comfort foods on hand for yourself and children. Comfort foods can help ease nerves and help you to have a sense of normalcy. I don’t recommend storing freezer meals as your emergency 72 hour foods. In most severe weather situations you will not have power, there will be no way to prepare or store the food. Keep on hand a manual can opener to open all those canned goods, no power means no electric can opener. When thinking about what foods to store for the natural disaster think about what’s easy to prepare and will still be something you can eat without a lot of preparation. A natural disaster isn’t the time to pull out new recipes.

2. Water- You can’t go more than a couple of days without water. Water is a big one to make sure you have plenty of on hand. FEMA recommends storing 1 gallon of water per person per day for drinking, bathing and cooking for at least three days. For a family of four that would be 12 gallons of water. Remember to store water for your pets too. Water should be stored in food grade, PETE or PET containers. Don’t store water in old milk containers they will break down. I’ve even purchased water from the store in milk type containers that have broken down after a year and leaked. I use old gallon juice containers with great success. Clean out any container you use prior to storing the water with a mixture of household bleach and water. 1 tsp bleach to 1 liter of water. Storing water purification items is also a great idea in case your clean water supply runs out.

3. Lighting- You should have multiple lighting options. Flashlights, candles, LED lights, oil, fires, solar powered, snap lights, battery operated, hand cranked, and shake flashlights. There are many different types of lights in each of those categories. Find which ones work for you.

4. Medical- I recommend you have a basic knowledge of first aid and CPR. If that means taking a class then signup now and be prepared. You should have a first aid kit and over the counter meds. If you are feeling the need for more look into specialty equipment for treatments of burns, gun shots, and large wounds.

5. Communications- I recommend having a hand cranked radio with cell phone charger attachment. That way you can keep up on the news, have light and charge your phone. If the cell phone towers in your area are down and the power is out, you can use a phone that plugs directly into the phone line, if those lines still work. A battery powered radio is also good to have. It will keep you updated on what’s going on around you, and where to go if you do need assistance. Just remember to keep batteries for it. There are many great options for radios; hand cranked, battery and solar powered. It’s also good to have a list of the emergency numbers in your area. The emergency responders in my area suggest everyone write down the coordinates of their home. After a major disaster many street signs and land marks are gone. It’s even harder to find you to give you help if they can’t find the house. There are many ways to get the latitude and longitude of your home, the easiest way I found was on google earth. Just put in your address and once your home shows up you will see the latitude and longitude on the bottom of the screen.

6. Heat- You should have multiple heating options just like everything else. You should have blankets, extra warm clothes, breakable hand warmers, if you have a fire place wood on hand and the know how to build a fire, a generator is also nice option. Look into camping propane heaters. They can keep you warm and you can cook on them. But be careful when using them they can be dangerous. So read up on them and follow the directions. If you are not going to having power for a while and it’s cold outside move into a medium sized room. You can close it up, put blankets over the windows to help keep the room insulated and keep the doors closed. It’s helpful for a family to bring all bedding into the same room and sleep there as well. Use your body heat.

7. Safety- GUNS and AMMO!! You can never have too much ammo. Make sure you have the adequate training to effectively use your weapons in defensive situations.

Of course I’m not an expert so do your own research too. This is a list to get you thinking and started on emergency preparedness.



Article submitted by Mark Hatfield.



‘Lifeboat rations’  What the heck is that?


It is exactly what it says.  This is the food supply designed to be kept in lifeboats.  They were never intended to be a complete meal or to provide complete nutrition, they are simply intended to keep you alive until rescued.


There are some substantial advantages to keeping some on hand for emergencies.  These include:


1.  Guaranteed shelf life of five years.

2.  Does not make you thirsty.

3.  Don’t need to drink anything along with eating it.

4.  Does not go bad in extreme temperatures of hot or cold.


The storage conditions apply while the packaging is unbroken, if a package is opened so individual bars are accessible, the storage guarantees no longer apply.


These rations are an excellent choice for hiking, hunting, the ‘’bug out’ bag, and the ‘get home’ bag.  You can just throw some in the trunk of your car and forget about them until needed.


These are not just snack bars or ‘gorp’.  They are U.S. Coast Guard approved and most manufacturers are also internationally approved as well.  To be lifeboat rations they must meet specific standards for nutrition and stability.


They do contain a good bit of sugar so diabetics beware.  They are low protein, high carbohydrate, high sugar.  Some of them taste good enough to use for snacks and are cheaper than many similar sized items sold as snacks.  They may carry a lot more calories however.  For official use, each is offered in packets containing at least 3600 calories.  The basic packet of 3600 calories is said to be enough for 3 days, but that is for lifeboat use, the caloric needs of a hiker would be higher.  They also offer packets of 2400 calories.


The three manufacturers available of which I am aware are: S.O.S., Mainstay, and Datrex.


S.O.S.:  This is my favorite.  I find them appealing enough to occasionally eat as snacks.  The standard packet contains 9 bars of 400 calories each. Each bar is individually wrapped but not sealed.  The packet can be slightly difficult to open with bare hands, the individual wrappers often have a ‘greasy’ feel.  I usually open one end of the bars wrapper and squeeze the bar up to the top.  People to whom I have offered these find the taste either appealing or neutral.


Mainstay:  It has been 5 years since I have tried Mainstay.  Each packet contains 9 cubes, again 400 calories each.  The cubes were not separate but part of a larger block and not individually wrapped.  I do not recall how easily or not the packet opened.  The ration reminded me of dense, crumbly, fine grained corn bread but with a strong lemon flavor.  I do not like these but I do not like lemon, no lemon pies, lemon cakes, etc., however my niece loved them and so did others of her associates.


Datrex:  Just tried these this week.  Each packet contains 18 individually wrapped and sealed flat squares. The packet opened well enough but the individual bar wrappers were a bear to open with my bare hands.  The bars are soft and the effort to open the individual wrapper caused them to crumble, then some of it would be lost while trying to get it out of the wrapper.  If my hands were tired, weak, sweaty, or wet, I would never be able to open them without the point of a knife or other implement.  The taste is neither pleasant nor unpleasant, it was just…stuff.  I will not buy these again.  However, as I have a case of them, I have decided that in the event of very bad times, this is what I will hand out to others if requested.  Did occur to me, one could crumple the stuff into a bowl, add milk and eat it as a cereal.


When shopping for these, prices vary TREMENDOUSLY.  Some places actually charge twice what others do.  On top of that, these things are heavy so shipping cost is easily the same as the price of the product.  The manufacturer of the S.O.S. rations is only 3 or 4 hours away from me but does not sell retail, nor are there any nearby retailers.  My most recent purchase was from a company the furthest you could get from me in the continental U.S., essentially from one ‘corner’ of the country to the farthest other ‘corner’.  Look very carefully at the shipping costs, it is often cheaper to pay a higher price for the rations if the shipping rate is reduced, than to buy at a low sale price and pay full shipping.


As said, I keep some in my car.  I take them when hiking or hunting, and keep some in the house for emergencies. If you are thinking of long term food supply for bad times obviously you will want more than just these, but they are a good item for part of your emergency planning.

My survival and Get Home Gear Part 2

In part 2 of my posting about my survival gear and get home bag I will show and explain the extra items added during winter and cold weather months.

Obviously the winter requires different clothing gear and other things to stave off dying from exposure. So, with the change of the year I add more to the  gear and I also swap to another pack to carry the extra clothing and survival items.  The pack I use is the large ILBE pack for winter. Everything in the 3 day assault pack seen in my last article on the subject is moved over into this pack. It is heavier then the small pack, but I feel when the weather is more extreme, it is worth the trade off.

The large pack will hold another human inside it if used to its fullest potential. It also will allow you to attach the 3 day pack to the outside. MOLLE covers the back of it and sides for any additional things you want to add with buckles to secure it. The pack has two side zippers so you can get into it without going through the top. You can see in the picture that I added a GP pouch in front and an extra nalgene bottle holder on the side.  The other side secures the therma rest air mattress nice and tight.

The winter gear  in the picture above goes into the large winter pack with all my other normal stuff.  In it is a gortex parka and pants that are water proof and wind proof, a set of silk weight pants and shirt to wear under normal clothes if its not too cold or just cooler and wet. I also keep another two pair of smart wool socks and some wool gloves, a neck gaitor and a fleece hat. One the right side is a  ECWS wild things extreme cold weather parka. It is not water proof but will repel water. It is for extreme cold but dry weather. As inside layer I have a grid fleece pull over shirt with grid fleece bottoms. I also have two pelican water and shock proof cases to carry various things to keep them safe and dry, like cell phones or any sensitive things.

A close up of the gortex. Also is the picture is an extra WXP source water carrier I add to the outside of the pack.

A close up of the fleece and other layers. All of it goes into a water proof ruck sack liner to keep it dry in a heavy rain or a spill into a river or falling over a water fall.

The gas mask is something that I sometimes add to my kit. It does not stay in it full time, but depending on where I am going or other factors I can add it.  I think that a gas mask and plenty of extra filters are a very smart thing to have in your preparedness kit. Some may think it is crazy but it could very well come in handy and  be the most important thing of your entire life in the right situations.  Not all masks will protect against chemicals or biological and nuclear so make sure you get what you think you need. I am more worried about major civil unrest and maybe areas CS gas is being used.  If some one drops mustard gas in my area, just a mask won’t be helping me by itself so its a moot point. If you live in an area with chemical spills, you need  a different set of chemical protection gear so read up and learn about it before spending a ton of money on something that would melt to your face.

Now, my gear is not just for fighting my way home or evading and escaping some unknown evil force. It is also for helping my through a catastrophe.  It is more likely I would get stranded some where then to fight off aliens from the future.  So I always make sure to have plenty of things to signal with.

Here are three examples of what I consider some of my most important items. These are used to signal  if I roll over a hill.  Are lost in the woods or  need to  flag down a medical chopper or the police depending on what is going on. A cell phone is great. But some times even if you have a GPS, maybe they do not. Or if could be so heavy brush, they can not find you. If a medical chopper is coming and seconds count. It is best to have something to signal with RIGHT NOW.   For this I have these three things. A military VZ17 signal panel with orange and pink sides that folds out to become fairly large and very easy to see, A yellow smoke grenade and a MK 7 hand parachute signal flare.  All can be seen from ther air easy and the panel can be laid on the ground, in a tree, on top of a broken down car or waved in the air on a large pole or stick by the person needing help.  I also carry a smaller US airforce pilots signal panel  small enough for a pants pocket on my person when on a long hike and keep two or three in the  vehicle just in case along with road flares and signal mirrors and chemical lights.   You are more likely to be trying to stay alive and need to signal help before you ever need to get away from some invading force like in Red Dawn, so always have several forms of signaling for help.   For the rest of my gear and summer month items read the Part 1 of this series.

Catherine & Carlos On Water filter/Purification for Hiking and Survival

One of our readers asked this question on the looserounds.com facebook page ,http://www.facebook.com/pages/Loose-Rounds/108959942566051 . I thought it was a detailed enough answer to be posted as a stand alone entry.

You can ask any question you want ( within reason) and Looserounds will do its best to answer it for you. Ask using the site email or through the facebook page.

Q&A question??? What’s the best portable water filter/purifier system out there. Which one is the best value? I noticed you guys started doing the shtf topics.

Cat. You can find me at www.facebook.com/kittycatkimchi. Anyhow, I’ll cover the 3 popular ones for backpacking.

1. The Sawyer Squeeze Filter is very portable, versatile, and affordable. Watch this video to understand how it works- http://youtu.be/lKWQjlq-uYA. The only downfall in my opinion is trying to collect water from shallow areas. I think the price is around $50. Great system though for the price.

2. The Steripen Adventurer Opti won backpacker awards. Just as the name suggests it looks like a thick pen. One end holds the battery and the other end has a optical UV light (and also a flashlight). You simply fill a Nalgene bottle with water, turn on the Steri-pen, dip into the water and stir until the light turns off. It removes the bacteria. Here’s their video- http://www.steripen.com/adventurer-opti. It takes 90 seconds to purify 1 liter of water. The downfall is it requires a battery. The cost is about $90.

3. The MSR Sweetwater is probably the most liked for true backpacking and back country hunting. Since it is a pump system it can filter water from puddles. The pumping action does take some time and the unit is slightly larger/heavier than the two mentioned above. However, a great product and one I will add to my hunting pack. Here is a video – http://www.backcountryedge.com/video-msr-sweetwater-microfilter.aspx. The cost is about $90.

I hope this helps. Feel free to contact me anytime.


You can also search REI’s website for this products and read others reviews.

I’d also like to add that the Katadyn Exstream works pretty well. It’s similar to the Sawyer filter in operation, but comes with it’s own bottle. You can probably get one for around $40. As Cat pointed out, neither works very well in shallow muddy water. Also, with both of these you do have to periodically replace the filters.



The Swiss Katadyn Group is the world’s Number One for individual water purification systems and products, with a global market share exceeding 50 percent. Katadyn has been…

My Survival Gear Part 1

Since we have opened up a new section of the website for survival and prepping, I decided it would be  a good time to talk about my “get home” bag, or “bug out” bag.

My pack goes with me whenever I travel and stays in my jeep or whatever vehicle I am in. Depending on the time of year or how far I am going, I will change some items or go to a larger backpack.

If you click on the image, you will see a larger picture of most of what goes into my pack during the spring/summer/fall seasons. Something will change depending, but most of this is standard.  The back Pack is the USMC issued ILBE assault 3 day pack.  It has a main storage area, and outside storage and a pocket in the rear for a water bladder like the Camelbak.  I use the USMCSource WXP for water since the pack was made with this system in mind.

The main gear consists of the following items.

Two USMC  ground tarps. They snap together and are water proof. Can be used as a shelter half each or a water proof bed roll.

Two USMC poncho liners for sleeping or shade etc.

Two seal line water proof storage compression bags.

Two pair of cushioned Smarwool socks with silver lined sock liners.

One Nalgene bottle with titanium spork and nalgene canteen cup for cooking or mixing.

One water proof plastic container for cell phones or electronics.

Parachute flare

Folding knife

One fleece watch cap.

Two surefire battery holders with batteries and extra bulbs.

100 ft  550 cord

surefire  6p ( two)

streamlight pen light

Five chemical lights

Kbar knife

Flint and steel

Then I have a few 1 gallon ziplock bags with handy items. Heavy rubber bands, zipties, more batteries ( lithium) lighters ( 3) candles ( 2 ) Swiss army knife and Leatherman multitool. It also contains some medicine and some small 1st aid items.

Also I have a few kits given to railroad workers that are sealed up and contain grbage bags, handiwipes, toillete paper and hand cleaner.

Above are a few items I have found a lot of use from. An old Swiss army knife I bought with the first paycheck in my life many years ago with my name engraved on it by an old friend of mine (now since deceased) and two titanium pry-bars.

Above is my individual first-aid kit (IFAK). This is listed alone because I attach it to the outside of the pack to get to faster without digging. It is a pretty standard military kit with a few extras thrown in. I changed it by taking out anything i did not know how to use since it would just increase the risk of me harming myself.  I am not going to break it down or recommend what you put in yours because I am not a doctor and it is best you learn about this kind of thing from pros.

One thing that I add to the pack if I travel very far is a blow up thermarest pad for sleeping, It rolls up nice and has elastic rope to hold it together. The ILBE assault pack has two buckled straps that will hold it to either side nice and snug.

I did not show the food I add to the pack because it changes pretty often to make sure it stays fresh. Usually it is a combination of MREs, mountain house entrees and a few smaller cans of stuff added in.  In all, it’s about 3 days of food for the warm months.

Here is is all stuffed into the pack without the therma rest. I keep two carabiners on the pack just in case I need to lash something to it.

The pack does not contain any fighting items because it is not a fighting load carrier. It is for getting home cross-country.  Anything i need to defend myself with goes on my person.

This is what would be on my person if I needed to leave my vehicle and go cross country towards home. Some stays in the car until I need it, but the gun, mags, watch, knife and light are always with me. The signal panel,chem lights, lighter and extra AR mag would be added if I was forced to leave my vehicle.  This changes slightly from time of year or time of day/night.  The Gov model is my deep cover CCW pistol, but since buying the excellent Darkstar gear Kydex holster, I have taken to carrying my 1911 colt railgun with surefire x300 as my main CCW pistol.

For me, I feel these are the most important things to have and should not leave my person. I think I could reasonably escape most situations with just thins bit of gear as long as I could get back to my main pack or at least some water somewhere.  If not, then its unlikely I could have made it anyway.  The AR15 mag is added to the belt if things are bad enough to need it and the trunk AR15 is taken along.  I keep the AR15 in a ADIDAS sporting bag that I have shown before.

Next I will show the upgrade in clothing for winter months and longer travel.